Sunday, September 17, 2006

History and More Bad News For The Donkeys

As Labor Day has passed, we are fully into the election season for 2006. And the news is getting better for Republicans, which means worse for Democrats. President Bush, whom Democrats have made the focus of every issue, is still rising in Job Approval polls, climbing above 40% in the consensus and he appears to be gaining strength. The generic poll that the Democrats found so cheering – even though it bears little connection to reality – has also turned to the Right, to such a point that it shows a statistical tie. And most head-to-head races indicate that while Democrats may gain a few seats, that’s it – they are increasingly UN-likely to gain control of either the House or Senate.

This means that the 2008 Presidential race will be even more important.

I took a look at recent History, and if you’re a Donk, History is not your buddy. To show what I mean, here’s a brief look at the last ten candidates to hold the Democrat and Republican nominations:


2004 – John Kerry. Ran once, lost.

2000 – Al Gore. Ran once, won Popular Vote but lost Electoral Vote.

1992 and 1996 – Bill Clinton. Ran twice, won twice, although never claimed a majority of the Popular Vote.

1988 – Michael Dukakis. Ran once, lost.

1984 – Walter Mondale. Ran once, lost.

1976 and 1980 – Jimmy Carter. Ran twice, won once lost re-election bid. Last Democrat to clear 50% of the Popular Vote.

1972 – George McGovern. Ran once, lost.

1968 – Hubert Humphrey. Ran once, lost. Some historians think he could have won in 1968 if the Democrats had not fractured.

1964 – Lyndon B. Johnson. Ran once, won. Fell out with his party, reportedly chose not to run in 1968 because party leaders warned him they would not support him.

1960 – John F. Kennedy. Ran once, won. Assassinated in office.

Summary: Ten candidates in the last twelve elections. Four out of ten won an election (40%), but of those four, only one managed to win a second term (25%, 33% if JFK is not counted).


2000 and 2004 – George W. Bush. Ran twice, won twice. Lost Popular Vote but won Electoral Vote in 2000, won clear majority of Popular Vote in 2004.

1996 – Bob Dole. Ran once, lost.

1988 and 1992 – George H.W. Bush. Ran twice, won once. Some historians think he could have won in 1992 if the GOP had not fractured.

1980 and 1984 – Ronald Reagan. Ran twice, won twice.

1976 – Gerald Ford. Ran once, lost.

1960, 1968 and 1972 – Richard Nixon. Ran three times, won twice. Resigned rather than face near-certain impeachment in 1974.

1964 – Barry Goldwater. Ran once, lost.

1952 and 1956 – Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ran twice, won twice.

1944 and 1948 – Tom Dewey. Ran twice, lost twice.

1940 – Wendell Willkie. Ran once, lost.

Summary: Ten candidates in the last sixteen elections. Five out of ten won an election (50%), and of those five, four managed to win a second term (80%).

Comparison : Historically, the Republican nominees are more stable, win their initial election more often than Democrats, and if a Republican wins election, he is very likely to win re-election. Also, of the last 10 Democrats only Lyndon Johnson can be said to have won in a “landslide”, while of the last 10 Republicans Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan all won landslide victories.

Those are the numbers.

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